Ron Rivera is heading into a week 18 game, playing for pride for the second straight season. The Commanders 7-8-1 record possesses so many stories within it. At one point, Washington struggled for their first five weeks to find an identity while playing a high-priced quarterback who had failed to elevate the offense the way his coaches assumed he would. Soon after, Washington found stability behind rookie running back Brian Robinson and a top-five defense, with their sparkplug quarterback Taylor Heinicke taking over for an injured Carson Wentz.
Lastly, Washington then sputtered right before the bye week. Already being limited at the quarterback position and with a small margin of error overall due to offensive limitations and a top-heavy defensive unit, the Commanders eventually came back to earth, losing three out of their last four games.
On Monday, we spoke about Rivera’s year three ascension comments this past off-season and that he failed to live up to the expectations that he set. But Rivera, during his Wednesday press conference, believes that his team has taken the next steps.
“I’d like to believe we did. I think we did some really good things. I think there was a point where we were sixth in the whole playoff hunt. We got there, played some pretty good football, and some things happened that we couldn’t sustain. We went through a period with some injuries and lost some guys for the season that we didn’t have available. We’ve played several games that way. We didn’t have running backs from the very beginning. We finally got that together, and as things came together, we showed what we could do and then some unfortunate situations. So do I think we stepped forward? Yeah, I do. Do I think we showed we have a pretty good core of young guys? Yes, I think so. And do we have enough young guys, our veteran guys, around those young guys? I think we do, but I do think there are a couple of positions that we can shore up that we need to shore up. And again, it comes back to the one question that’s looming over everybody, and that’s the quarterback position. I was kind of hoping that we had found a solution and who knows, we may not, we may have, and we’ll find out on Sunday how we feel about it coming out of it. But do I feel good enough? Yeah, I do. I really do. I mean, we did some good things you’d like to believe. Now we had some opportunities we didn’t capitalize on, and that’s on us. That’s on me. But at the end of the day, I feel good about that.” - Ron Rivera on if he thinks his team has met his expectation and taken the next steps
Check out the latest Hogs Haven Podcast where KyleSmith4GM joined me to rehash Ron’s decision-making to start Wentz against the Cleveland Browns and the possible impact that made on the team. Also, if we buy the Commanders taking the next step in 2022.